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Race report
IndyCar Mid-Ohio

IndyCar Mid-Ohio: Palou wins third consecutive race, more pain for Herta

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Alex Palou won the ninth round of the IndyCar Series at Mid-Ohio, scoring his third victory on the trot in emphatic fashion.

Championship dominator Palou took control during the middle stint of his two-stop strategy, moving clear of pole position winner Colton Herta of Andretti Autosport, who once again suffered painful misfortune that cost him a podium finish when he was caught speeding in the pitlane.

Poleman Herta led the field to green and held the top spot through the first corner, ahead of Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Graham Rahal. Palou briefly nosed ahead of Kyle Kirkwood (Andretti Autosport) for third, but Kirkwood drove around the outside of him to hold the position.

Behind them, Marcus Ericsson (Ganassi) and Felix Rosenqvist (Arrow McLaren) tangled through Turn 6, with Ericsson briefly flying over the top of his fellow countryman. Ericsson suffered broken right-front suspension after a heavy landing and crawled into the pits for lengthy repairs, while Rosenqvist rejoined a lap down with a huge tiremark on his aeroscreen.

“I just couldn’t get the car stopped and ran into Felix, so I feel really bad for ruining his day,” said Ericsson, who started the day second in points.

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, crash, start

Marcus Ericsson, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, Felix Rosenqvist, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet, crash, start

Photo by: Phillip Abbott / Motorsport Images

The green flag flew on lap six, with Herta leading Rahal, Kirkwood, Palou, Christian Lundgaard (Rahal), Scott Dixon (Ganassi), Scott McLaughlin (Team Penske) and David Malukas (Dale Coyne Racing). The latter pair swapped places when McLaughlin was called for blocking on the exit of Turn 1.

From 25th position, after he spun out of Q1, McLaren’s Pato O’Ward gained eight spots in the opening 10 laps. He climbed to 14th before pitting to find clear track, after failing to get around Josef Newgarden’s Penske entry.

Rahal attacked Herta for the lead at the Keyhole on lap 13, but Colton fended him off despite complaining of tire drop-off. Behind them, Kirkwood came under attack from Palou again, who’d started on the primary tires.

Palou went around the outside of Kirkwood at Turn 4 on lap 19, where Kirkwood was pinched at the apex and spun, dropping to ninth.

Palou quickly caught Herta and Rahal, but then backed off to save fuel, with Herta pitting for his first stop on lap 28. Rahal went a lap longer, promoting Palou to the point. Rahal rejoined behind Herta but just ahead of the amazing O’Ward, who’d been lapping substantially faster on his three-stop strategy.

Palou stopped on lap 30, benefitting from a much faster pitstop with a shorter fill, rejoining in the lead from Herta, with Dixon jumping up to third from Power (after they both ran two laps longer than their opposition) and the charging O’Ward. Rahal was the big loser in the first cycle of stops, a fuel hose connection issue dropping to seventh behind team-mate Lundgaard.

Palou extended his lead over Herta to as much as 8.4s, as O’Ward passed Power for fourth on lap 32 before the Mexican made his second stop.

By half distance, Palou’s lead was cut to 4.8s as he became trapped behind Benjamin Pedersen’s AJ Foyt Racing car, who stubbornly refused to go a lap down.

Palou had to battle his way past around the outside of Turn 5 to put a lap on him, with his lead down to 3.8s. But Herta wasn’t showing much pace at this point and had Dixon cruising up to his tail.

Palou got the hammer down and extended his lead to 8.5s before making his final stop on lap 54, while Dixon also pitted from third allowing Herta to lead for a lap. Herta stopped a lap later, suffering a big slide in the pit entry, but Colton’s hopes were dashed by a pit speeding penalty, as he said the limiter didn’t work.

After taking his drive-through penalty, Herta dropped to 11th. Rahal then pitted from the lead but suffered a slow left-rear change, making it a disastrous pitstop cycle for the front-row starters.

Palou now led by 6s from O’Ward from Dixon, Power, Lundgaard, McLaughlin, Malukas and the delayed Rahal. The off-sequence O’Ward stopped for the final time with 16 laps to go, rejoining in ninth.

That ensured a Ganassi 1-2 for Palou and Dixon, who finished well clear of Power, Lundgaard, McLaughlin, Malukas and Rahal. O’Ward continued his charge, passing his McLaren team-mate Alexander Rossi for eighth with 10 laps remaining, with Marcus Armstrong (Ganassi) also getting ahead of Rossi to finish ninth.

Conor Daly, subbing for the sidelined Simon Pagenaud, finished 20th.

Cla Driver  Car / Engine   Laps   Time   Delay 
10 Alex Palou Dallara/Honda 80 1:37'31.9887  
9 Scott Dixon Dallara/Honda 80 1:37'37.0129 5.0242
12 Will Power Dallara/Chevrolet 80 1:37'50.3472 18.3585
45 C.Lundgaard Dallara/Honda 80 1:37'51.0715 19.0828
3 Scott McLaughlin Dallara/Chevrolet 80 1:37'52.5167 20.5280
18 David Malukas Dallara/Honda 80 1:37'59.1421 27.1534
15 Graham Rahal Dallara/Honda 80 1:37'59.8739 27.8852
5 Patricio O'Ward Dallara/Chevrolet 80 1:38'00.5006 28.5119
11 Marcus Armstrong Dallara/Honda 80 1:38'14.3908 42.4021
10  7 Alexander Rossi Dallara/Chevrolet 80 1:38'21.1370 49.1483
11  26 Colton Herta Dallara/Honda 80 1:38'27.5855 55.5968
12  2 Josef Newgarden Dallara/Chevrolet 80 1:38'28.1691 56.1804
13  28 Romain Grosjean Dallara/Honda 80 1:38'32.3592 1'00.3705
14  29 D.Defrancesco Dallara/Honda 80 1:38'34.8793 1'02.8906
15  21 R.van Kalmthout Dallara/Chevrolet 80 1:38'35.4182 1'03.4295
16  77 Callum Ilott Dallara/Chevrolet 80 1:38'35.8569 1'03.8682
17  27 Kyle Kirkwood Dallara/Honda 80 1:38'36.3907 1'04.4020
18  30 Jack Harvey Dallara/Honda 80 1:38'40.0704 1'08.0817
19  20 Ryan Hunter-Reay Dallara/Chevrolet 80 1:38'41.3604 1'09.3717
20  60 Conor Daly Dallara/Honda 80 1:38'42.1248 1'10.1361
21  06 H.Castroneves Dallara/Honda 79 1:37'48.1818  
22  51 Sting Ray Robb Dallara/Honda 79 1:37'56.3794  
23  78 Agustín Canapino Dallara/Chevrolet 79 1:37'58.6956  
24  14 Santino Ferrucci Dallara/Chevrolet 79 1:38'08.6703  
25  6 Felix Rosenqvist Dallara/Chevrolet 79 1:38'21.5445  
26  55 B.Pedersen Dallara/Chevrolet 79 1:38'32.0430  
27  8 Marcus Ericsson Dallara/Honda 5 1:04'37.5732

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